Ratcliffe's Ruminations

Thoughts on software, support, services and so forth


Entering Microsoft

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Today is my 15th day at Microsoft. Having been around the company, covering it as a journalist, negotiating with it as a partner and customer, and generally living in the world that Bill Gates had a huge hand in building, my "on-boarding" has been an eye-opening experience. Microsoft is a company that genuinely cares about its conduct, providing ample training--not just during the first few weeks, but throughout a career--about the responsibilities employees bear, and a dedication to the customer. It's impressive.

The sheer number of moving parts, from the tens of thousands of employees and contractors to the myriad projects each individual is working on, makes the laser-like focus on the customer hard to perceive, both internally and on the part of our customers. It's the problem that made me want to come here: How to take massive amounts of information and related resources and put it to the service of customers one at a time, as individuals with unique challenges rather than members of a mass market/audience. This is the greatest challenge facing Microsoft and all businesses that aspire to legitimately address the "social" marketplace.

Working on that personalization problem all day long is exciting to me as a long-time mediacraftsman. Dealing with so much information within Microsoft at the outset has been humbling. Getting all the good people and their thinking into the product funnel is an extraordinary challenge; I think I can make a difference.

I'm hoping that by blogging about the ideas that will drive the design and development of TechNet 2011, which is my job here, will give IT Pros and other Microsoft customers the foundation for participating in making the future of this service. Your effort at co-creation of a robust site and service will make TechNet exactly what you need, and I am here to listen, provide information that we can use to think together about features and functionality, and push the envelope of expectations so that TechNet is a critical source of value for each of you.

I am at your service, please feel free to contact me any time. My email address is miratcli [@t] microsoft-dot-com (sorry about the manglement, but spammers don't need my address) and my phone is +1 (425) 421-2491, which rings through to my mobile, as well. Want to know more about my background? Here's my About page.

Let's make a TechNet we all can't live without, together.

  • subscribed to your RSS feed, let us follow and see what will come about...looking forward to it!

  • Congratulations, and well-said! As a software developer and entrepreneur who has been working with Microsoft tools off-and-on since Windows 3.1, I remember fondly the excitement my team and I used to feel once a month when we'd receive the "big MSDN box", and on a different day each month, the "Technet box", via UPS. On many levels we felt privileged to be taken care of by Microsoft, building and selling software in an ecosystem they created for us as much as for them.

    This connection has now been lost; in recent years (at least five), I am only dimly aware of platform news flowing out of Microsoft, in large part I am sure to the increase in overall noise across the industry. If we still had our old connection, I would be able to easily name three things which make Windows Mobile better than iPhone, or Azure better than EC2 or Google App Engine. But I cannot.

    Lets hope that with you now on their team, and with other goals as you've laid them out, Microsoft will up their game with respect to competing for developers' mindshare and attention such as mine.

    Best to you,


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